Note: Forumwarz is owned by a Canadian company, although its servers hosted in the United States. That may make a difference in laws that apply to you. However, you can bumume U.S.-centric content except where otherwise noted. In particular, note that definitions of "public domain" can vary widely from region to region.
Why does the distinction between different kind of usage rights matter? Forumwarz would sleep easier at night if it knew that players submitting content were aware of the difference between copyright material and that which is Public Domain (PD) or Creative Commons (CC) licensed.
Somebody created it and wants to bumert his or her control over it. Usage rules are simple: Unless you are the copyright holder, or you purchased a license from a stock image site, do not use this stuff. If you're not sure, bumume that the content is covered by copyright. That goes for anything you find on Google Images or your average blog. If you can't contact the copyright holder, or there's no specific license attached, then don't use it. (Sensing a theme?)
Public Domain (PD) works have no restrictions on usage. Anybody can use them for any reason at any time. Sometimes they are PD because the author expressly wishes them to be; other times because they precede copyright laws; other times because they have been produced by a government body; or because copyright has expired. In some jurisdictions, content creators are not allowed to relinquish copyright.
There are some rights-holders who will describe their work as "free to use" or "unrestricted" without expressly labeling it PD. You can usually trust that these sources are indeed PD.
Creative Commons (CC) is a more flexible copyright scheme that expands on sharing of digital works, and usually demands attribution wherever the works is shown. It can be useful in some applications.
CC-licensed material will say so explicitly, and may have restrictions on use, such as no commercial use (generally avoid this) or no derivatives (you can use it as long as it's unmodified). There are many levels of CC, and the usage terms can often be incompatible and downright bewildering. This also goes for other novel rights schemes such as GNU, Copyleft, and so on.
For these reasons, Forumwarz tends to avoid CC works, except in special instances. Because CC works often require attribution and a link back to the source wherever the content is shown, it is difficult to maintain this scheme on a site with as many dynamic elements as Forumwarz.
Future iterations of itembuildr will most likely allow CC works by including a link to the original within the item description itself. However, this feature is not yet ready.
Submitting to Forumwarz
Materials submitted for use in the game should be PD, or have the copyright owned by you, and you obviously must allow Forumwarz to use it for profit. This may simply require a statement such as "I release these works to the public domain and allow Forumwarz to use them without restriction." In some cases, CC-licensed works that allow commercial use may be usable, but generally PD is preferred.
Material licensed in any other way cannot be used in the game, and if it is later found to copyright, it will need to be removed. This causes grief for FWZ admins, and we all know what rolls downhill. So just don't do it, no matter how tempting that itembuildr win medal might be.
This bears repeating: If you're not sure, you must bumume that the work is copyrighted and unavailable for use. This applies to anything you might submit: pictures, text, audio, video or fonts.
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